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Should I Spay My Cat?

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

Deciding whether or not to spay your cat is an important decision for every pet owner. After all, your furry friend is an important part of your family! But spaying your cat isn’t just about preventing more kittens; spaying your cat can also affect your pet’s long-term health and behavior. Below, we’ll share more about the spaying process, why you should consider spaying your cat, and cover the potential risks involved with spaying your pet.

A cat wearing a cone

What Is Cat Spaying?

Spaying your cat is a medical procedure that eliminates the possibility of pregnancy in cats. It’s similar to a hysterectomy — meaning that your veterinarian will typically remove your cat’s ovaries and uterus all at once. This routine procedure is usually done before your kitten turns four months old, which is the age at which kittens begin to attract the attention of potential mates. Not only does spaying your cat promote their well-being, but it also controls the pet population too!

We’ll put your cat under anesthesia for the procedure. Once the veterinarian has finished spaying your cat, they’ll close the incision up with stitches. Most cats return home on the day of the surgery and make a quick recovery.

Why Should I Spay My Cat?

There are plenty of benefits to spaying your cat. Most importantly, spaying your pet is beneficial for your cat’s health. After all, pregnancy can be costly and might even come with potentially dangerous complications for your furry friend. By spaying your pet, you’ll save yourself a trip to the vet and make sure your cat lives a long and happy life. Spaying can also help prevent uterine infections and even eliminate the risk of ovarian and mammary cancer too.

Health benefits aside, the spay procedure also prevents certain behavioral problems that are linked to hormonal fluctuations during your cat’s heat cycle, namely territorial aggression and roaming. After all, females with intact reproductive systems can go into heat as often as once per month! When they do, your pet will be more likely to wander outside, get into fights, and perform other behaviors that some owners may find irritating — namely meowing and howling. They may even begin to urinate outside their litter box as a marking behavior.

Spaying your cat can also help fight pet overpopulation, which is becoming increasingly more common in the United States. By spaying your cat, you can help this crisis and reduce the number of strays in your area.

What Should I Expect When I Spay My Cat?

When you make an appointment at Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic to spay your cat, our caring team will perform a physical examination and take your cat’s bloodwork to make sure they’re in good health. We’ll also share any fasting or other important preparation details for your pet’s surgery. This is a great time to ask your vet any questions or concerns you have about the procedure.

On the day of the surgery, you’ll drop your cat off in the morning at the office. Most likely, your cat will be discharged the same day once they’ve recovered from the anesthesia. Your vet will send your pet home with everything they need to ensure a quick recovery, and a collar to make sure they don’t tamper with their stitches. When your pet returns home, you may notice that some grogginess and disinterest in food. This is common for cats that have been put under anesthesia.

Are There Any Risks Involved?

Spaying your cat is generally a safe procedure, but no surgery is completely without risk. Some cats may experience an adverse reaction to anesthesia, specifically if they did not follow proper preparation instructions prior to the surgery. Because of this, it’s imperative that you strictly follow your vet’s instructions and report any signs of illness or previous medical conditions to your veterinarian before they undergo the procedure.

Aside from potential anesthetic risks, some cats may develop post-operative infections around the incision site. You can usually control this with antibiotics. However, it’s important to make sure that you keep the surgery site clean when your cat returns home and prevent your pet from licking or tampering with the area.

Myths About Cat Spaying

There are several common myths about spaying your cat. One of the most common myths is that your cat may become lazier and even overweight after the procedure. While some cats’ metabolism may slow after being spayed, this is an uncommon complication. If you notice your cat gaining weight after being spayed, simply decrease their food intake and make sure they get plenty of exercise.

Another common myth is that spaying is painful for your cat. That’s not the case! Because the procedure is performed under general anesthesia, the procedure itself won’t be felt by your cat. While there might be some discomfort afterwards, most pets return to their normal activity levels within 24 to 72 hours.

A happy cat sprawled out on a rug

Making the Decision at Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

In almost every case, spaying your cat is the right choice. After all, there are several physical benefits to the surgery, as well as to the overall cat community. If you want to learn more about spaying your cat at Ponderosa Vet Clinic, give us a call today or schedule an appointment at our clinic. Our caring team of veterinary professionals are here to empower you to make the best spay choices for your pet.

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